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2020 BMW X3 M, X4 M arrive to steal the M3's thunder

by Ronan Glon

Both pack up to 503 horsepower.

BMW has given the X3 and X4 the full-blown M treatment. Both SUVs receive design tweaks, chassis updates, and a potent straight-six engine offered in two states of tune.

Power for the two high-riding M models comes from a turbocharged, 3.0-liter straight-six engine that makes 473 horsepower between 5,600 and 7,300 rpm and 442 pound-feet of torque from 2,600 to 5,500 rpm. It sends its power to the four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission, and a rear-biased version of BMW's xDrive all-wheel drive system. The Munich-based firm quotes a 4.1-second zero-to-60-mph sprint.

The available competition package brings a 503-horsepower version of the straight-six. Torque stays flat at 442, which partially explains why the 30 additional horses only lower the zero-to-60 time by a tenth of a second. However, buyers who pay extra for the Competition Package can add the optional M Driver's Package to unlock a 177-mph top speed.

Variable steering, an adaptive suspension with M-specific parts, and beefier brakes (including four-piston Brembo front calipers) help drivers make the most of the straight-six's power. There's a lot of electronic wizardry under the sheet metal, including an M Dynamic Mode which gives the driver access to the M xDrive 4WD Sport option. It lets the Ms slide into a controlled drift, so keep that in mind if you see one sideways in the mall parking lot.

The list of standard equipment includes leather upholstery, sport seats for the front passengers, a Harman Kardon sound system, navigation, Apple CarPlay compatibility, and keyless entry. Wi-Fi, a head-up display, a gesture-controlled infotainment system, and wireless charging are found on the list of extra-cost options.

The 2020 BMW X3 M and 2020 BMW X4 M will go on sale in the coming months. Production will begin in Spartanburg, South Carolina, in April 2019, and pricing information will be released at a later date.

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